Where to eat, play, stay in Soho, New York

Travel News from Stuff - 04-09-2023 stuff.co.nz

Shopping and eating are the main reasons locals and travellers visit New York’s trendy celebrity magnet of SoHo.

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This former manufacturing district turned artist community in Lower Manhattan is known for its charming cast-iron architecture, which houses a brilliant variety of upscale boutiques, restaurants and galleries.

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You have six subway lines within a ten-minute walk for effortless movement between sights. The world-famous Washington Square Park can be reached in less than 15 minutes, and another quick stroll will bring you to Little Italy and Chinatown where further culinary goodness awaits.

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From upmarket fine-dining restaurants to pizza for less than a buck, there is something for everyone within, and just beyond, the official suburb borders of Canal and Houston Streets.

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Michelin Guide-recommended Balthazar has been a favourite with the glitterati of the Big Apple since it opened in 1997. The French brasserie is known for its steak frites and fresh pastries served in a sophisticated space.

Even more classic is Fanelli Cafe, which has inhabited the same location on Prince Street since 1847 with its antique neon sign and sandwiches. Lombardi’s – the oldest pizza joint in America – can also be found here, in the same place it was launched by Gennaro Lombardi in 1905.

For a grab and go slice, bypass the 99c pizza joints and head straight for celebrity-approved Prince Street Pizza. Even if you arrive around opening you can expect a line of punters outside the pizzeria’s green facade to try Sicilian-style slices. The top pick: a square of pepperoni fresh from the oven.

Come morning, crowds can also be found gathering at the birthplace of the cronut. The innovative Dominique Ansel Bakery is quick to sell out of its signature pastry, however diners will still find madeleines, croissants, and milk served in cookie cups. On the day of my visit, the daily cronut came topped with bright pink elderflower and raspberry icing.

SoHo has evolved into one of the city’s premium shopping districts from its height as an art neighbourhood.

West Broadway as well as Spring, Broome and Prince streets are considered the best locations to fulfil your New York shopping fantasy, especially if you have some cash to splash.

Investment shoppers will find Prada New York and its offshoot Miu Miu, plus MoMA Design Store, Valentino, Alexander Wang and Anthom. Elsewhere, there's sleek Scandinavian label Acne, French brand A.P.C, the first location of streetwear outfit Opening Ceremony, and a five-storey Nike store.

It’s not all serious shopping business. The Sloomoo Institute is a sensory centre dedicated to all things slime, the Museum of Ice Cream celebrates the frosty treat through immersive installations and the city’s highest indoor slide, and the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art is a koha-entry gallery spotlighting LGBTQI+ culture.

After a day of retail therapy, rest your head at one of SoHo's sophisticated boutique hotels. Opened in 1996, Soho Grand is right in the thick of the action on West Broadway.

The red-brick building is stylish and spacious, reflecting the luxury of the neighbourhood between guest rooms, terrace suites and penthouse lofts. Rooms come with views of downtown Manhattan, and in some cases, bear the street noise to match.

Dining options onsite include the Grand Bar with its extensive whiskey collection, outdoor restaurant Gilligan's, and modern eatery Soho Diner.

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